By Amila Jayasinghe
Several trade unions from various sectors have expressed solidarity with the Federation of University Teachers’ Associations (FUTA), despite the government’s decision to reopen the universities yesterday.
Addressing a media briefing, General Secretary of the Ceylon Teachers’ Union (CTU), Joseph Stalin, said they would not stop the strike despite the decision of Minister of Higher Education, S.B. Dissanayake, to reopen the universities without resolving the issues brought up by FUTA.
He said, instead of adopting alternative measures, the government must resolve the crisis within the university sector immediately, and not let the issue spiral out of control.
“As a result of the FUTA strike, A/L paper marking has been halted. The government seems oblivious to the problems faced by the students. The strike will continue until a solution is reached,” he said.
President of the Health Services Trade Union Alliance, Saman Rathnapriya, said all trade unions will join hands with FUTA and fight until the rights are granted to the university teachers.
“The strike has been continuing for the past two months, but the government has not taken any meaningful step to end the crisis,” he said.
General Secretary of the Lanka Trade Union Association, T.W. Subasinghe, said the strike will go down in the annals of Sri Lanka’s history of workers’ struggles.
The trade unionists that took part at the press briefing are: General Secretary of the Lanka Trade Union Association, T.W. Subasinghe, President of the Ceylon Federation of Labour, T.M.R. Rasheedeen, President of the Health Services Trade Union Alliance, Saman Rathnapriya, Co- Secretary of the Free Trade Zone and Public Services Workers’ Union, Anton Marcus, President of the Lanka Estate Workers’ Union, Dhammika Jayawardena, General Secretary of the Ceylon Teachers’ Union Joseph Stalin, Treasurer of the Officers’ Association of Postal and Telecommunication, Muditha Karumuni, Chairman of the Insurance Workers’ Union, R.S. Nandalal, Chairman of the Railway Services Union and Joint Federation, Leenus Jayathilika, Secretary of the Para Medical Services Bala Mandalaya, Saman Jayasekera, J.B. Gurusinghe of the All Employees’ Union of Information and Telecommunication, N. Sirisena of the Independent Workers’ Association, Harbour, Suranga Navullage Jathika Sevaka Sagamaya (JSS), Chairman of the Centre for National Trade Unions, Chandana Sooriyaarachchi, Chairman of the Bank of Ceylon Workers’ Association (Union), Amarapala Gamage and Secretary of the Trade Union for Media Personnel, Dharmasiri Lankapeeli.